Cheltenian: unexposed hurdler could strike in County HurdlePICTURE: Getty Images
Cheltenian fancied for County Hurdle by Hobbs
A PREVIOUS winner at the Cheltenham Festival when landing the Champion Bumper in 2011, Cheltenian is considered by Philip Hobbs to be his best chance from his team for the meeting this year.
The lightly-raced eight-year-old has only had four starts over hurdles since winning the Champion Bumper, and demonstrated he still retains plenty of ability when fourth to Splash Of Ginge in the Betfair Hurdle last time out.
Although entered again for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle, in which he was tenth last year, the Grade 3 Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle is Cheltenian's target, for which he is a best-priced 16-1 chance.
Speaking in an interview in Monday's Racing Post, Hobbs said: "Cheltenian could be our best chance in the County Hurdle on Friday. Richard [Johnson] feels he's a tough, robust horse who will manage the hurly-burly very well.
"He didn't have a hard race when he bolted up in a moderate maiden hurdle at Uttoxeter, which meant that as a stuffy horse he probably needed the run in the Betfair Hurdle. He's definitely done enough work now and I think he can get better."
Read the full Philip Hobbs interview in Monday's Racing Post - or download the iPad edition